After the cancellation of the 2020 Drum Corps International summer tour, we're left with an overwhelming sense of wonder about what corps will do, how the activity may progress past this, and what the outcome may be for organizations and people on the ground floor.
This article will try to address some of those questions.
Age-Out's Saving Grace
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about a cancellation like this is "who will not get another opportunity to perform because of this?"
Just like with the cancellation of the 2020 Winter Guard International World Championships, Drum Corps International has announced a one-year extension for age-out performers to compete in 2021. Their exact wording states "the membership also agreed that in order to preserve the opportunity for this year’s class of age-outs, performers will receive additional eligibility based on existing age requirements with a one-year extension."
It is still uncertain if would-be 2020 age-outs that did not receive a contract for the 2020 season will be eligible for 2021.
The Split Southwestern Championship That Never Was
If there's a silver lining in this whole situation, it's that we still don't have to go an entire season without the Alamodome, quite yet. Months ago, DCI announced that a scheduling conflict at the San Antonio Alamodome would force the event into being spread across two venues which can mess with the seeding of corps as they vie for a favorable performance slot.
As of right now, DCI has given no indication that the scheduling conflict would impact years beyond 2020.
Madison Scouts Went All-In On All-Gender
After being an all-male drum and bugle corps since 1938, the Madison Scouts announced during the 2019 season that for 2020 and beyond, they would welcome performers of all genders to participate in the corps. In addition to opening their doors to everyone, they also revealed an overhaul to their instructional and design staff.
With the summer quickly approaching it is time to start thinking about drum corps. Here is a little taste of what the Scouts have in the works. Enjoy! pic.twitter.com/I5dRgjJdDs— Madison Scouts (@madisonscouts) January 29, 2020
The new staff melded experienced designers Jason Robb, Noah Bellamy, Jennifer Leseth, and Daniel Montoya Jr. with a young instructional staff with a war chest full of modern techniques and skills. As one of the few corps to release 2020 show information, only time will tell if the Scouts will continue into 2021 with their proposed 2020 show or if they'll be going back to the drawing board for the competitive premiere of their new cast and crew.
What Do We Do From June to August, Now?
It's hard to ignore the fact that the worst impact the corps will have to face will be financial. As corps put together their business plans for surviving what is essentially a shutdown, be on the lookout for ways you can interact and participate with your favorite groups throughout the summer, in a modified fashion.
As major sports leagues like the MLB, NCAA, and NBA shift their focus to impacts that can be made by athletes remotely, and like you've already seen from many corps by moving their monthly camps to online experiences, you can likely expect the same "virtualization" to take place this summer with DCI.
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I Need Some Positivity In My Life
While COVID-19 has thrown the marching world for quite a loop recently and its impacts are nowhere near fully realized, there has still got to be some positivity to take from this situation.
Well, what is one thing that the corps never have enough of? Time. What have they been given now that their summer tour of traveling tens of thousands of miles and performing 30+ times over 80 days has been upended completely? Time.
Time can have an incredible impact not only on the creative process of a design team but also on the entire perspective through which we as fans see our beloved activity. It is quite typical for drum corps' designers to go through an incredibly demanding cycle of constantly designing as they go from DCI to BOA to WGI without ever having enough time to refresh their minds.
We also always expect that a DCI summer tour must be the same format that has been the same for decades—starting at the same time of year, ending at the same time, and costing the corps and their members a fortune.
Well, the circumstances which made this format of a summer tour possible at the outset are no longer the same, and corps are starting to feel it in their wallets. What might a year off do to refresh our minds and eyes about the way we look at this activity as a whole? Adapting to one's surroundings during adversity is perhaps the first major lesson one learns when they march in a drum corps. Why would it apply any differently now?
The 2020 season can now be used as a time to refresh, refine, and spend valuable time re-evaluating the way that corps operate from a logistical perspective but also as creative theatrical productions.
How Can I Help?
Well, we don't quite know yet. The situation is still quite up in the air as corps figure out how to plan for 2021. If you're looking for a very simple thing to do, check out DCI's online store for merchandise or find your preferred corps' website and shop around.